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The Life of Meaning: Reflections on Faith, Doubt, and Repairing the World


Stellar thinkers wrestle with the meaning of life and death today

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The Life of Meaning: Reflections on Faith, Doubt, and Repairing the World

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Stellar thinkers wrestle with the meaning of life and death today

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Faith and doubt stand in loving tension in this splendid collection edited by Bole, a religion writer, and Abernethy, founder and host of the PBS program Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. The book draws from the extensive interviews the series has conducted with religious luminaries and writers, some of whom appear more than once. The interviews are loosely arranged into themes of prayer; suffering and the problem of evil; encountering religious pluralism; preparing for death and the afterlife; and the varieties of religious practice. Not all of the contributors describe themselves as religious ("You know what an agnostic is?" asks the agnostic near-centenarian Studs Terkel. "A cowardly atheist"). Most of those profiled, however, have walked a long path of religious devotion, including Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Thich Nhat Hanh, the Dalai Lama, Anne Lamott, William Sloane Coffin, Martin Marty, Frederica Mathewes-Green and Phyllis Tickle (PW's former contributing editor in religion). With such an amazing cast of characters, it's practically impossible to go wrong, and this collection doesn't miss a step. The section on suffering is particularly perceptive ("I know that where there is no suffering, nothing happens," novelist Madeleine L'Engle says). This is a rich feast of accumulated wisdom. (Apr. 3)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583227589
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 7.02 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword   Tom Brokaw     xi
Acknowledgments     xiii
Introduction   Bob Abernethy     1
The Meaning Makers     5
Limning the Rites of Death   Thomas Lynch     9
Staring Down the Gods of War   Chris Hedges     17
Exposing the Spiritual Crisis of Modern Medicine   Rachel Remen     25
More Than Is Dreamt of in Your Theologies   Marilynne Robinson   John Polkinghorne     31
Naming the Real   Marianne Williamson   Tilden Edwards     37
Discovering Things Nobody Knew Before but God   Francis Collins     41
Waltzing with the God of Chaos   Barbara Brown Taylor     47
The Meaning of Mud   Phyllis Tickle     53
Evil and Suffering     57
A Faith Difficult to Understand   Menachem Daum     61
Easing the Divine Suffering   Irving Greenberg     67
Evil Acts, Sacred Places   Edward Linenthal     75
Like Living in the Book of Job   Thomas Lynch     87
Damning the Disease, Not (Ultimately) the Deity   William Abernethy     91
Smells Like Hope   Madeleine L'engle     95
Redeeming the Devil   Desmond Tutu     101
Hope Dies Last   Studs Terkel     105
Prayer and Meditation     111
The World's Prayers   Carol Zaleski   Philip Zaleski     115
Through the Valley of the Shadow   Harold Kushner     123
The Former President on Unanswered Prayer   Jimmy Carter     129
Warming Oneself Before the Glow of God   Desmond Tutu     133
Talking to God Straight and Angry   Stanley Hauerwas     135
On Wintry Spirituality and Napping   Martin Marty     139
Praise Every Three Hours   Phyllis Tickle     143
The Jesus Prayer and Praying with Icons   Frederica Mathewes-Green     147
The Hum of the Universe, in a Minor Key   Robert Wuthnow     151
Finding God's Presence in Darkness   Ellwood "Bud" Kieser     155
"I'm Spiritual, not Religious"     159
On the Altar of Consciousness   Marilyn McGuire     163
Unlearning Religion   Marianne Williamson     171
Blessing the Doubters   Barbara Brown Taylor     177
With or Without Religion   Phyllis Tickle     181
We're Spiritual and Religious   Tilden Edwards   Tina Brown     185
Religion Makes Hospice Calls   Martin Marty     191
The Good, without God   Rushworth Kidder     195
Being Religious     203
All Is Gift   Eileen Durkin     207
Eileen's Uncle and His Catholic Imagination   Andrew Greeley     217
Stuff Counts   George Weigel     223
Is God Still the Center?   Mark Noll     229
The Inerrant, Infallible Word of God   Richard Land     235
The Genius of Evangelicalism   Randall Balmer     241
Who Is Winning-Evangelicals or American Culture?   Alan Wolfe     245
Mainline Protestantism
God Is Not Going to Whomp You   Martin Marty     249
Vital Signs   Diana Butler Bass     257
The African-American Church
Safe Harbors and Defiant Spirituality   Robert Franklin     263
The Miracle of Existence   Blu Greenberg     269
Reading the Book of Our Life   Alan Lew   Abraham Lubin   Joel Tessler      279
The Soul Is Hovering   Rochel Berman     285
Bearing Witness to the One God   Seyyed Hossein Nasr     289
The Haji   Abdul Alim Mubarak     297
A Message from the Dalai Lama$dThe Dalai Lama     305
Being Mindful and Engaged   Thich Nhat Hanh     309
The Smaller Sufferings   Helen Tworkov     315
Many Deities, One God   Uma Mysorekar     323
Paths Up the Mountain     331
The Measure of Diversity   Diana Eck     335
Many Paths, Many Ways   Alan Wolfe     343
Evangelizing by Deed   Jimmy Carter     347
The Only Way to Heaven   James Merritt     351
Is Every Truth True?   Robert Wuthnow     355
Our Great Challenge   Seyyed Hossein Nasr     359
The Passions of Jerusalem   David Hartman     363
Lives Well Lived     367
Where the Weak and the Strong Dance Together   Jean Vanier     371
"Oh, Annie, Whatever"   Anne Lamott     379
No Return   Scott Neeson     389
Changing Your Social Footprint    Rajiv Vin Nakota     395
Healing Body and Spirit   Scott Morris     403
The Cathedral of Charity   Billy Shore     409
Raging against Boredom   William Sloane Coffin     415
Photo Credits     421
About the Editors     423
Index of Contributors     425
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